Jeanine Tesori
Jeanine Tesori
Thoroughly modern composer Jeanine Tesori will be the guest of honor at Boston's Birth of a Musical Festival (June 21-29), which will offer a slate of tuners that are still being tuned up. Tesori--who, besides crafting the new music for Millie, won a Drama Critics Circle award for Violet and is currently working with Tony Kushner on Caroline--will be around on the closing day of the festival to answer questions, to offer feedback, and to be feted with Boston Sings Tesori, a cabaret performance of her tunes.

This is the fourth year for the newly renamed festival (in previous outings it was the Open Call Festival of New Musicals), which is co-hosted by the New Opera & Musical Theater Initiative (NOMTI), North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT), the Boston Music Theatre Project at Suffolk University, ASCAP, and the Boston-based theater company Centastage. The festival is centered around three new musicals by New England teams, one of which is made up of lyricist/composer Brian Ross Lowdermilk, age 19, and book writer Zach Altman, a high school junior. Their work, The Wheel, will be featured along with Making Scents by Stephen Murray and William Lipscomb and George Sand by Nancy Rexford and Charles Turner.

The festival is pitched at general fans of musical theater as well as those who have a special interest in seeing how musicals are developed. The authors have all been through a month-long process of feedback and rewrites, of which the festival performances are the culmination. Tesori, along with other theater pros and an enthusiastic audience, will be on hand to offer praise and criticism. A full schedule of events can be found at the NOMTI website, but here's a heads-up on one special treat: After the Boston Sings Tesori performance on June 29, Tesori will hop up to the piano to debut some numbers from Caroline.